Closer Readings Commentary

“A William Faulkner Remembrance” July 6

Wonder. Go on and wonder.”
- William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

I’ll never forgot the summer afternoon in 9th grade sitting on my grandmother’s porch in Massachusetts opening Faulkner for the first time - I think it was his novel, As I Lay Dying. This was indeed a culture shock, I felt I could taste of the dust of the South ... and wasn't able to put the book down till I finished with darkness falling, the porch light turned on. ... Years later in college, I recall my Literature professor describing his pilgrimage to Oxford MS to visit Faulkner's home as he unlocked The Sound and the Fury for the freshman students assembled before the fire in the living room in Vermont where we held class. ... I have since enjoyed many of his novels ... still can taste the dust and still can't put them down till I finish! Thank you Mr Faulkner ~ for encouraging such wonder ... for shedding a little light on the mysteries of the human heart ... for introducing this girl from small town New England to the culture of the American South ...

This Friday, July 6, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962)

A number of educational and cultural organizations in his homestate including the NEH affiliate Mississippi Humanities Council and U Mississippi will join together to pay homage and remember their favorite son with a marathon reading of Faulkner’s final novel, The Reivers, on the grounds of his home in Oxford, Rowan Oak.

If you have never had an opportunity to read it, this is a perfect occasion to open Faulkner's 3 minute speech upon his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

EDSITEment offers two Curriculum Units of five lessons for English teachers and students to explore the worlds created by this master storyteller.

As I Lay Dying: Form of a Funeral

Students will also explore the context of the novel, examine background information on social and economic conditions in the rural South in the first decades of the twentieth century drawing parallels between Faulkner's life and the life depicted in the text.


The Sound and the Fury: Narrating the Compson Family Decline and the Changing South

Upon completing this curriculum unit, students will have a solid understanding of the novel and of the changing South, and they will be able concretely to analyze the novel in spoken and written forms.